The owner of a popular Brighton bar pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges related to an alleged incident at his bar in which staff carried an unconscious and severely injured patron outside, leaving him there.
John Rogaris, 44, of New York, was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court on charges of destruction of evidence, witness intimidation and lying to authorities. He was indicted by a grand jury last week.
As Rogaris waited for his case to be called, the man who was found unconscious inside his bar and was allegedly carried and left outside sat one row behind him. Dylan Fitzgibbon, 21, a University College Cork student who was in Boston for an internship, now must wear a helmet to protect his head after suffering significant head and brain injuries.
“We’re here because we want to have the answers,” said Bill Dailey, Fitzgibbon’s attorney. “How can a person do this to another person and essentially just leave them to die? And we want that question answered.”
Police responded to the area behind Roggie’s on Chestnut Hill Avenue at about 2 a.m. May 23 for a report of an unconscious man in his 20s. When officers arrived they found Fitzgibbon suffering from life-threatening injuries and believed he had been assaulted.
However, during the course of their investigation, authorities determined that the man suffered the life-threatening injury while inside the bar and was then carried outside. Boston police said detectives learned the information through witness interviews and video surveillance from inside Roggie’s.
A prosecutor said an employee found Fitzgibbon, who authorities said was underage at the time, unconscious at the bottom of the stairs. The manager then called Rogaris who allegedly told the manager to move Fitzgibbon from the bottom of the stairs to the back parking lot and call 9-1-1. However, a prosecutor said none of the staff called emergency crews and a passerby who spotted Fitzgibbon outside called 9-1-1.
Rogaris allegedly told detectives the bar’s video surveillance video system was shorting out, but after police applied for a warrant, video showed Rogaris manipulating wires behind the bar’s video recording system, a prosecutor said. Additionally, authorities allege Rogaris visited a witness and said he would take care of him financially if he took the fall for him.
The prosecutor did not request Rogaris be held on bail and Rogaris was released on his own recognizance. Rogaris’ lawyer said his client has a spotless record and he looks forward to defending him in court.
Police said Roggie’s has been closed since the investigation.
A spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney’s office said no one else is expected to be charged.
Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.